A friend gave me a present this week. It’s the new ESV Study Bible, and I have been very impressed. As well as the ESV text of the Bible, it contains over 50 articles on a number of topics in theology, ethics and Christian teaching. It was good to see some very familiar names in the list of contributors: Desi Alexander, Dan Doriani, Bob Letham, Gordon McConville, Lee Ryken, Dave Powlison and Vern Poythress.
What impressed me was the clear and unambiguous way the editors have set out their theological position.
The doctrinal perspective of the ESV Study Bible is that of classic evangelical orthodoxy, in the historic stream of the Reformation. The notes are written from the perspective of confidence in the complete truthfulness of the Bible. In passages where errors or contradictions have been alleged, possible solutions to these challenges have been proposed. At times the notes also summarize interpretations that are inconsistent with classic evangelical orthodoxy, indicating how and why such views are in conflict with Scripture.
Everyone comes to both the translation and interpretation the Bible (isn’t all translation interpretation?) with their own set of presuppositions. It’s good when those presuppositions are stated clearly. I checked out some contentious Bible passages and was encouraged to note that in a number of places the writer of the notes agreed with me! In particular, I note that the ESV Study Bible , unlike Kingsway’s Life Application Study Bible, sets out the orthodox evangelical view of I Timothy 2. Good job!
I note that Jim McKee in the Faith Mission Bookshop in Portadown has a good supply. I suppose my only complaint is that with over 2,700 pages it’s a bit chunky and not the sort of Bible you would take with you to read in pastoral visitation.